Gaston County Schools is pleased to establish a Gifted and Talented Academy at the new Pleasant Ridge Elementary School in Gastonia.
The school is under construction now and will offer a modern school campus with state-of-the art classrooms, the latest technology, a contemporary library/media center, a spacious cafeteria and multipurpose area, a modern gymnasium, a courtyard for outdoor learning, and more.
Questions and Answers
■ What is a Gifted and Talented Academy?The Academy is designed especially for students who demonstrate academic excellence and have the ability to excel in a dynamic school environment. It will provide accelerated learning for students and offer exciting academic and extracurricular activities. Students will:
Above all else, the Academy will help students to expand their intellect, encourage high academic achievement, and nurture personal goals and development.■ When will it open?The Academy will open in August 2017.■ Is this a magnet school program?Yes.■ Who can attend?Students who will be in grades K-4 for the 2017-2018 academic year may apply to attend. (To keep students from transitioning to the school for only one year, the Academy will not have fifth grade during its first year.) Students should demonstrate academic excellence in one of two ways: they meet the qualifications for our Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) program or they are in the top 10 percent academically for their grade level. ■ How many students will be in the Academy?The Academy is accepting 200 students. There will be two classes of 20 students each per grade level: kindergarten, first, second, third, and fourth grades.■ Do I have to apply? Does my child have to meet entrance requirements? Is there a lottery?Yes. There is an application process, and parents may apply online. Students qualify for the Academy if they meet the requirements for our Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) program or they are in the top 10 percent academically for their grade level. Students who apply and qualify will be entered into a lottery, which will select the students who will attend the Academy.■ When is the application deadline? When is the lottery?The deadline to submit an application is Monday, May 15 at 5:00 p.m. The lottery will be held in late May (lottery date to be announced).■ Is the Academy open to students outside of Gaston County Schools?Yes, but students must reside in Gaston County. Students who currently attend charter, private, or home schools may apply. A screening process will be used to determine if students outside of Gaston County Schools meet the admission requirements.■ Will bus transportation be provided for students in the Academy?No. Parents will be responsible for providing transportation.■ Is this a “school within a school” concept?No. All students at Pleasant Ridge - the students in the Academy and the students who are assigned to Pleasant Ridge by their residence - will benefit from the Gifted and Talented Academy program. The goal is to provide quality instruction and meaningful learning opportunities for all children at the school. The 200 students in the Academy will be grouped together by classes so they can experience teaching and learning at their advanced ability level; however, the students will not be isolated in a particular section of the school and will have interaction with other students to create a whole-school atmosphere.■ What kind of teachers will my child have?The teachers will have AIG certification and experience teaching in an accelerated classroom setting. The teachers will facilitate lessons and activities that move students beyond what they could achieve in a traditional setting. Teachers will concentrate more attention on content areas with an emphasis on in-depth exploration, critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, hands-on activities, and personalized small-group and one-to-one interaction.■ Why is Gaston County Schools opening the Academy?Over the past several years, parents have expressed an interest in having more magnet school programs. The Academy is another way for us to make school choice options available. Also, with the opening of the new Pleasant Ridge Elementary campus, the timing is right to establish a magnet program at the school.■ Why should I consider the Academy for my child? What are the benefits?The Academy will offer a challenging and innovative school environment for children who are advanced in their learning ability. They will be engaged in daily instruction tailored especially for the gifted student. Most important, the Academy will prepare students for accelerated learning during their entire school career as they move on to middle school, high school, and college.
- Participate in in-depth study of topics in science, math, reading, and other subjects;
- Engage in problem-solving and critical thinking;
- Use modern technology as a learning tool;
- Develop leadership skills; and
- Flourish in their capacity to think creatively and at a higher level.
■ I think my child qualifies for the Academy. What should I do?Gaston County Schools identified approximately 1,300 students who qualify for the Academy. Notification letters were sent to parents the week of March 20. If you did not receive a letter, but believe your child qualifies, please call Terri Surbeck about the screening process: (704) 810-7284 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.